Malpas residents come together to buy famous King James I chair

Reporter:

Barrie White

A group of community-minded Malpas residents have to come to the rescue to preserve a piece of the village’s special history.

A chair was sat in by the first Stuart monarch, King James I – who reigned between 1603 and 1625 – after he stopped at what is now the Red Lion Inn, in Old Hall Street.

The group of residents bought the chair for more than £1,000 after the pub’s new owners declined to keep it.

Eric Bickley, part of a group that organised the purchase which included John Bickley, Naomi Wynn, Adrian Carter and Jo Shone, paid the full amount of £1,137, with Jo organising a Go Fund Me Page to reimburse him.

“Any money raised in excess of this amount will go towards restoration, insurance and legal fees,” said Nigel Shone, Jo’s father.

“The intention is that wherever it is finally situated, it will belong to the people of Malpas rather than a group of individuals.

“However, a plaque will be produced and accompany the chair in recognition of all the individuals who donated.

“The chair has twice been on the front cover of Cheshire Life and also featured in the TV programme Wish You Were Here’

“This is a unique part of Malpas’ history and with the generosity of people’s donations it will be secured and retained for posterity.

“The chair is soon to be displayed for a short while in a shop window in the High Street, Malpas.”

The chair was mentioned in an historical document, called Pigot and Co’s National Directory of 1828, and gives a detailed account of the chair’s legend.

It reads: “King James, travelling incognito, stopped at the house now called the Red Lion Inn, which was frequented in the evenings by the most opulent and respectable part of the inhabitants, among whom were the rector and the curate of the parish.

“The king entered familiarly into their conversation and enjoyed the hilarity of the evening to which he himself contributed in no small degree.

“When the company were about to separate, the curate (whether from the dictates of a pure and liberal spirit, or whether by his sagacity he had discovered some hidden mark of royalty) proposed to the company they should confer upon the stranger some mark of their hospitality, such as he should be exempt from pay and any part of the evening’s expenses.”

The passage concluded the King later revealed himself to the group.

Anyone wishing to contribute online towards the chair can donate on at www.gofundme.com/
arm-chair-from-the-red-lion-fund

For cash and cheque donations, please contact Nigel Shone on 01948 860568 or 07849 366403.

Email:

barrie.white@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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